Alternative Service

Innovation in Action

The Alternative Services program brings service to parts of King County that don't have the infrastructure, density, or land use to support traditional fixed-route bus service. In such areas, alternative transportation services may be a better match for community transportation needs. They may also be more cost-effective.

This 2-year demonstration project is an opportunity to experiment with innovative transportation models. By partnering with local governments, King County Metro will develop transportation options tailor-made to the needs of the community.

Program goals

Goal 1

Goal 1: We will seek alternative services that…

  • More effectively serve communities where fixed-route transit may not be cost-effective.
  • Match services to an area’s land use and infrastructure characteristics.
Goal 2

Goal 2: We will seek opportunities to…

  • Collaborate with stakeholders to design a service that meets their needs.
  • Partner with communities to deliver and market these services.
  • Develop services that can be sustained over time.

What are alternative services?

There are a wide variety of transportation alternatives to fixed-route transit service. Learn more about these options:


More info…
VanPool
VanPool: Your New Commute
VanPool
Vanpools are for commuting together regularly to work or school in a Metro van. Participants share the cost of fuel, while the volunteer driver rides free.
More info…
Metropool
Metropool electric cars charging in a parking stall
Metropool
Ridesharing in Metro’s fleet of 100% electric, zero-emission vehicles.
More info…
VanShare
Passengers in a VanShare commuter van
VanShare
VanShares are Metro vans which groups can use to travel between transit and work on a regular on-going basis. Participants share the cost of fuel and the volunteer driver rides free.
More info…
TripPool
Passenger in a TripPool van
TripPool
TripPool is a new service available in select communities. Neighbors ride together in a Metro van between their home neighborhoods and the nearest Park & Ride or Transit Center. There is no regular commitment—instead volunteer drivers coordinate with riders using a real-time mobile app called iCarpool.
More info…
SchoolPool
An illustration of kids traveling to school
SchoolPool
An online ridematching service that helps students to find walking buddies, biking buddies, or parent carpools to and from school.
More info…
Real-Time Rideshare
A carpool driving down the street
Real-Time Rideshare
Mobile carpool matching services that help people find one-time carpools in real-time.
More info…
Carpool
A smiling carpool passenger
Carpool
Metro participates in an extensive regional ridematching service called RideshareOnline.com to help drivers and riders connect with others going their way.
More info…
Community Shuttles
Community shuttle bus
Community Shuttles
Small Metro vehicles that travel a regular route with designated Flexible Service Areas.
More info…
Emergency Ride Home
Taxi cab driving down the street
Emergency Ride Home
Some participating communities and some select programs include an Emergency Ride Home (ERH) program. As part of this program, Metro provides free rides in taxis or Transportation Network Company (TNC) ride services to registered participants in case of valid emergencies on days that participants took qualifying modes of transportation.
More info…
Community Van
Neighbors using a community van to go shopping
Community Van
Community Van is a new Metro service for non-commute group trips such as trips to the grocery store or special events. Community Vans trips are arranged and scheduled by a local Transportation Coordinator. Partner communities decide what kinds of trips their Community Vans will offer.
More info…
Bike Library
A rack of rental bikes
Bike Library
Bike libraries are small fleets of bicycles that are available to community members for short-term rental. Like Community Vans, they are coordinated by a local government agency such as a library or community center.

Putting alternatives into action

Strong community partnerships are the key to a successful alternative services project. Thanks to the contributions and efforts of our municipal partners, alternative services are already rolling out across the county!

Projects in progress

We are currently partnering with the following communities to develop Alternative Services projects. Learn more about each project:

Success stories

We have already had successful Alternative Services partnerships in the King County. Learn about all the great mobility options now available in the following communities:

Get your community involved

Metro is getting ready to initiate more Alternative Services partnerships with local governments throughout King County. If you would like to be added to our mailing list to learn more about future opportunities please send us an email.

The Alternative Services program has prioritized projects in communities to mitigate the impact of service reductions and right-size transit services as identified in the five-year plan for alternative service delivery. We will be identifying opportunities to complement fixed route service through a combination of interest expressed by local jurisdictions, a willingness by those jurisdictions to partner with Metro on alternative service delivery, and a market analysis.

Background

The King County Council approved $12 million for alternative services in the 2015-2016 biennium. The framework for the Alternative Services program is laid out in the Five-year implementation plan for alternatives to traditional transit service delivery which was adopted Sept. 2012.

Contact us

Cathy Snow
Transportation Planner
Send Cathy an email
Telephone: 206-477-5760
Hearing Impaired/TTY Relay call: 711